Commercial trucking is a crucial part of the machine that is our country’s infrastructure — it keeps gas in our cars, food in our pantries, parts, and machinery in our manufacturing plants. But the job’s not an easy one — you spend long hours sitting behind the wheel to do whatever it takes to get to your next stop on time, and it can leave little room for taking care of yourself the way you need to.
It’s hard to stay active, and harder still to eat healthily. Over time, as your body gets less and less of what it needs, more than just your metabolism suffers — your body will stop taking care of itself. This only gets worse as deadlines encourage you to skip sleep, meals, even breaks. Ensuring the health and safety of the men and women who keep our supply chain running is precisely why truckers are required to have regular DOT physical examinations.
Assumption of Risk
Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing for anyone, and doubly so for a commercial driver. While it can be tempting, or even seem necessary, to drive through the night, you could be setting yourself up for more than road fatigue or accident. Even if you manage to stay alert that night, you’re setting yourself up for a myriad of health issues that can cost you later. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory loss, high blood pressure, weight fluctuations, even other sleep-related disorders. This would be bad enough by itself, but its effects further complicate the lifestyle challenges faced by truckers.
Nutrition is a challenge all its own. There isn’t a wealth of nutritious options for drivers to choose from when they’re on the highway. In fact, there are hardly any options at all. When a burger and fries is all you can do, a burger and fries are what you eat. Multiply that by every meal taken on the road and it’s easy to see why 73% of drivers are classified as overweight, and 50% are considered dangerously so — coupled with the sedentary nature of the job, it can be very difficult to overcome.
With such barriers in the way of proper nutrition and healthy activity, as well as the above-average number of smokers in the profession, the risk of a heart attack or stroke increases dramatically. Maintaining a healthy diet and level of activity as well as having routine physicals is the only way to control this risk.
What to Expect From Your Physical
Your physical exam will check basic factors such as health history, weight, blood pressure, and vision. They will listen to your heart and lungs for any irregularities and check your urine for early signs of diabetes. They will also check your spine to ensure that long hours of putting pressure on your lower back haven’t led to issues like herniated disks. With the exaggerated risk factors faced by drivers, this kind of regular upkeep and early detection is critical. Take charge of your health — go to driverphysicals.com and find a certified exam facility in your area.
Evan Maukonen is a freelance writer and professional student who contributes insights and advice on various topics affecting businesses as well as the health and wellness of their workforces.